Class of 2017 sets records for most diverse, selective in University history

Class of 2017 sets records for most diverse, selective in University history

Princeton's Class of 2017 is the most diverse in University history, with a higher proportion of students from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds among its 1,291 members than any prior year.

"Building a diverse community is a high priority for the University, and we will continue to concentrate on the recruitment, selection and yield from every background," Dean of the College Valerie Smith said in her report on the Class of 2017 at a Sept. 16 faculty meeting. 

Smith's report was based on preliminary figures compiled by the Office of Admission and the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid. Official opening enrollment figures will be published in October on the Office of the Registrar website.  

A record 254 students from low-income backgrounds make up 19.7 percent of the Class of 2017, and 60 percent of the class, or 778 students, are receiving financial aid. The average grant for freshmen is $40,372, with a total projected scholarship budget of $31.4 million for the Class of 2017.

"At Princeton, access and affordability are core values, and we are pleased to hold firm to our commitment to the strongest possible undergraduate financial aid programs," said Smith. 

The Class of 2017 is the 16th to matriculate since the University began enhancing its undergraduate financial aid program— including a pioneering "no-loan" policy — to make a Princeton education more affordable to a broader  range of students. As a result, the average "net cost" for Princeton students today is lower than it was in 2001, even before adjusting for inflation. 

A record 42.6 percent of the class  — 550 students — are from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

A near-record 26,498 applications were submitted for consideration for the Class of 2017. Princeton offered admission to 1,963 applicants, resulting in an admit rate of 7.4 percent, the most selective in University history. This compares with last year's previous record-low rate of 7.86 percent.

The Class of 2017 includes 156 international students, compared with 153 last year. International students from the freshman class represent 54 countries and comprise 12.1 percent of the freshman class. 

The class is balanced in terms of gender: 49.1 percent women and 50.9 percent men. 

The figures for the incoming freshman class do not include the 35 students admitted to the Class of 2017 who are participating in the Bridge Year Program, which offers students the opportunity to live abroad tuition-free while performing service projects. Those students will enroll with the Class of 2018. The figures for the Class of 2017 do include students admitted with the Class of 2016 who participated in the Bridge Year Program last year. 

According to preliminary figures from the Office of the Registrar, Princeton currently enrolls 5,222 undergraduate students.